UK officers arrest man for involvement in at least 27 deaths during Channel crossing
British police arrested a man on Tuesday over the deaths of at least 27 people who drowned while trying to cross the English Channel by boat last year.
The UK’s National Crime Agency said Harem Ahmed Abwbaker, 32, was arrested in the south-west English town of Cheltenham following an investigation by authorities in the UK and France. He is accused of belonging to an organized crime gang that was behind the dangerous step.
Only two people survived when the packed ship sank between France and England on November 27, 2021. Twenty-seven are confirmed dead and four are still missing.
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“The individual arrested today is suspected to have played a key role in the manslaughter of those who died,” said deputy director general of the crime agency Craig Turner.
Abwbaker is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Wednesday to face a French extradition request.
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Migrants have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain, often attempting the journey on small boats organized by smuggling gangs. More than 40,000 people have arrived in Britain after making the perilous journey across the Channel so far this year, compared with 28,000 in all of 2021 and 8,500 in 2020.